Men can be pigs sometimes. I like to think my friends and family are not, but sometimes I worry about the company I keep.
I was at my cousin Hannah’s wedding reception, standing near the bar with my brother Scott and two male friends, Peter and Mark. The bright yellow walls that hurt my eyes in the daylight now shone golden at night. The prim and proper bridal guests had cut loose in the moonlight.
Between sips of beer, each of the males would wager a guess at something, but they wouldn’t tell me what.
When I finally asked what they were betting on, Peter smiled at me and said, “One of the female guests at the wedding is a porn star.”
Scott hushed him. “Don’t say it so loud. I just can’t believe Hannah knows a porn star.”
I took a sip of my vodka tonic and smiled. “Well, Hannah always has been good at making friends.”
“It’s her,” Peter pointed to a perky brunette in a teal dress.
“No,” Mark said. “It’s that cute little redhead over there.”
“You’re both wrong,” I told them, gulping down the last of vodka tonic.
I looked at a buxom girl in a jade green halter dress. She exuded confidence, even though she had a rather full figure and her blond hair was a little big. “It’s her,” I said, gesturing my head toward her.
“No way,” Peter said. “She’s not pretty enough.”
“Pete, I thought looks didn’t matter in the porn industry.”
“Well, Claire, what do you think matters to men who watch porn?”
I knew one thing for sure. “No male ever gives me a straight answer when I ask that. But I don’t think it’s a pretty face, now is it?” “Okay, we’ve got to settle this,” Peter said. “I’ve got to know who the porn star is.”
“Better yet, let’s make a bet,” Mark said. “Losers buy the winner dinner. I’m in. Pete, Scott, Claire, you in?”
Each of us nodded and stuck with our original choices.
We played “Eeny meeny miney moe” to see who would ask the bride about her porn star friend. Scott and I smiled as it ended up being Peter.
When Peter returned from his chat with Hannah, he looked at me. “How did you know, Claire?”
I smiled. “Someone told me at the bar last night after the rehearsal dinner, so I watched the way she moves.”
“What do you mean?” Scott asks.
“Watch her and tell me she doesn’t move like a porn star. She walks like she knows she’s hot and she doesn’t care if you don’t think she is.”
For the rest of the night, they watched her every move.
When she walked by and didn’t even acknowledge them, I smiled.
Later, when I was in the ladies room, she was there, applying mascara.
“I like your dress,” she told me. “That mossy green is good on you.”
“Thanks,” I answered. “I didn’t think anybody cared what I had on. I like your dress too.”
“It’s not too tight?” She shimmied her hips and her blond curls bounced.
“No,” Claire told her.“I wish I could get my dresses to fit like that. You’ve got great curves.”
“You do too. I wish I had perky little boobs like yours instead of these big melons.” She looked down at her breasts and continued applying mascara. “Those guys you’re with haven’t noticed your dress?”
I just shook my head.
“Men can be such pigs sometimes,” she said, powdering her nose.
“Indeed they can,” I answered.
“So, why are you here with three guys who aren’t paying any attention to you?”
“Well, one of them is my brother. Peter and Mark like flashier women.”
“Is that why they’ve been staring at me? They think I’m flashy? Tell them to come over and talk to me. It’s weird. They’re all cute, but one of them likes you.”
“Which one?” Claire asked.
“The mid-height guy, short hair. Gorgeous eyes. That Burberry tie has a stripe the color of his eyes. Tell the other two to come talk to me.”
“I don’t think they know what to say to you.”
The porn star applied her lipstick and said, blotting her lips, “Most guys start off with either ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ or ‘Did you really make porn?’”
“That sounds like something Peter would say to you! Peter has on a blue tie. I think my brother, the one fiddling with the camera, would probably ask you how you know our cousin.”
“Bride or groom?”
“That’s why her dad gave you that big bear hug. Wait. I’ve seen your picture. She told me you two were like sibs to her. Claire, right? I’m Jade.”
With one last look in the mirror, Jade said, “Listen to me. You just prance yourself out of here and remember this: It’s in the way you carry yourself. Even porn stars have bad hair days.”
When I left the bathroom, I tried to work what I had the whole way back to Peter, Mark, and Scott.
And the porn star was right. It worked.
I saw Mark watching me cross the room while Scott was messing with his digital camera.
“Hey, Claire. That dress is nice on you.”
“Thanks, Mark,” I answered, looking for my vodka tonic glass.
He leaned in and told me, “Peter went to defend your honor on the way to get refills – at least he thinks it was yours. Some guy was talking about the hot girl in the green dress. Sissy ass wouldn’t go until he was sure you were wearing a green dress.”
Scott barely looked up from the camera and said, “She is wearing a green dress.”
“If you’d look up, you’d see for yourself.”
“I’m the younger sister. I’ve been invisible since he was thirteen.”
“If you only knew, little sis,” Scott says, gazing up from the camera. “Why do you think there are three of us standing with you?”
“The porn star look-out, the beer go-fer, and the third so the other two don’t look like a couple. Guys have to stand in threes.”
“Nope,” Mark said. “I’m trying to convince your brother and Pete to go talk to the porn star so I can talk you into dinner.”
I smiled to him.
“Jade’s out on the patio. Scott, she said you were hot. Mark’s buying me dinner.”
“Hey! We came together. You’ve got the hotel room key, sis!”
I reached into my cleavage, retrieved the key, and placed it in Scott’s hand.
“That’s one lucky room key,” Mark said.
“Maybe the room key won’t be the only lucky one tonight.”
I quit worrying about Scott and Peter. I let them take care of themselves with Jade. Mark was the only company I wanted to keep.
* * * * *
Carole Mehle is a writer based in North Carolina. To support her writing habit, she teaches English and humanities at a local community college. The teaching habit though, tends to suck the life from her writing habit, leaving little time for actually writing, much less getting published. Her debut novel, Blinded by the Crowd, has been stuck in revision far too long (with all the other novels she writes) and will be released this summer.
This is her first contribution to Snake-Oil Cure.
Guest edited by Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke